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28 May 2024

Chinappa & Ghosal Lead Hosts India Into World Cup Semis

16 Jun 2023

Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal launched a thrilling fightback for hosts India to overcome Japan 3/1 and set up a meeting with Malaysia in the semi-finals of the SDAT WSF World Cup at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai. Malaysia will now face top seeds Egypt in the other semi.

On the final day of the Pool stage, India and Japan went head to head for the top spot in Pool B.

The No.2 seeds made the worst possible start in front of their home fans when Chennai-born Abhay Singh lost in three games to Tomotaka Endo.

Fortunately for her team, former world No.10 Joshna Chinappa was on hand to perform an incredible rescue act in the second match against Satomi Watanabe, the highest-ranked player at this year's event.

The 36-year-old played out a brilliant battle, twice coming from behind to claim a vital 3/2 win over Japan's 24-year-old world No.18.

That win meant that if Saurav Ghosal could hold off Ryunosuke Tsukue, India would be mathematically guaranteed top spot.

To the delight of the capacity crowd, Ghosal held his nerve, winning his match in five games after fighting back from 5-3 down in the fifth, with Tanvi Khanni mopping up with a routine 3/0 win over Akari Midorikawa.

"It was just emotional winning this match," Chinappa said afterwards. "We all have to back each other up and there will be days where I may not win and the rest of my team will, so today was one of those days when I had to do the job."

That defeat for No.3 seeds Japan means they will face Egypt, who were given a real examination by No.4 seeds Malaysia.

Everything appeared to be going to plan for the pre-tournament favourites when Karim El Hammamy strolled to victory against Sai Hung Ong, only for world No.55 Aira Azman to throw a spanner in the works with a hard-fought 3/2 victory over world No.33 Fayrouz Aboelkheir.

Aly Abou Eleinen got Egypt back on track with a brutal 7-1, 7-0, 7-1 win against Darren Pragasam, before Kenzy Ayman was pushed to the brink in a 3/2 win against Xin Ying Yee.

Elsewhere, there were first tournament wins for No.5 seeds Australia and No.7 seeds South Africa, who finished third in Pool A and Pool B, respectively.

South Africa, who completed a minor seeding upset when wins for Jean-Pierre Brits, Dewald van Niekerk and Hayley Ward helped them to a 3/1 victory over No.6 seeds Hong Kong, China, will play No.8 seeds Colombia for a place in the 5-8 group.

Australia, meanwhile, play Hong Kong, China in the playoff after Nicholas Calvert, Jessica Turnbull, Joseph White and Alex Haydon earned the team a clean sweep over Colombia.